Silver City Professor Chosen As Fulbright Scholar

Silver City – Dr. Manda C. Jost, Associate Professor of Biological Sciences, is the recipient of the Fulbright-Nehru Visiting Lecture Program Award. Dr. Jost will travel in December 2010 for a six-month lectureship with her host institution Kurukshetra University in the northern Indian area of Kurukshetra, Haryana.

An evolutionary biologist, Dr. Jost will teach applied evolutionary biology and research methods to life science students at Kurukshetra University. She will coordinate visiting workshops in applied phylogenetics at the Indian Institute of Science in Bangalore.

Dr. Jost plans to initiate collaborative research on north Indian and Himalayan insect biodiversity and explore possibilities for a future educational partnership between Kurukshetra University and Western New Mexico University that would give Indian students an opportunity to study forest and wildlife management in the United States. Dr. Jost is mentoring WNMU students for future international educational opportunities with the student Fulbright program.

Dr. Jost received her Ph.D. in biology at Harvard University and in the last 15 years has taught courses in evolution and biological diversity at several universities including Harvard and the University of Texas at Austin. A trained field biologist, Dr. Jost, has conducted field studies in biologically diverse countries including Columbia, Ecuador and Southern Africa as a continuation of her Harvard University doctorial research studies in phylogenetic relationships of crickets and the evolution of the acoustic signals they produce during courtship. As a researcher at the University of Texas, she studied the adaptive evolution of voltage-gated sodium channel proteins, which have diverse functions in animal nervous systems and elsewhere (such as providing natural resistance to deadly neurotoxins). Her research on the evolution of neurotoxin resistance in puffer fish was featured in the New York Times in December 2009.

As a Fulbright Scholar and an Ambassador for the U.S. Department of State, Dr. Manda Jost proudly represents WNMU as well as the state and the nation.

"WNMU congratulates Dr. Jost and the Department of Social Sciences from Dr. Randy Jennings, Natural Sciences Chair; Dr. Faye Vowell, Provost; and Dr. John Counts, WNMU President," stated Professor Gloria Maya, Fulbright campus representative.

The Fulbright Scholar program, sponsored by the U.S. government and managed by the Council for International Exchange of Scholars, a division of the Institute of International Education, is the country's oldest and most distinguished international academic exchange program and works directly with approximately 2,400 representatives on college and university campuses across the United States in collaboration with international governments and educational institutions globally. Awards are available in approximately 140 participating countries. Fulbright information is available at